(Minghui.org) A march in Chicago's Chinatown on July 21 marked 19 years of peaceful resistance to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. After the march, Falun Gong practitioners held a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese consulate to mourn those killed in the persecution.

Chicago Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in Midwest America. Falun Gong practitioners marched along the busy streets of Chinatown – Wentworth Avenue, underneath the Chinatown Gate, and through Chinatown Square – to raise awareness of the persecution in China and call for its end.

Falun Gong practitioners marched through the center of Chicago Chinatown on July 21 to call for the end of the 19-year-long persecution of Falun Gong in China.

Falun Gong practitioners demonstrate the exercises on a float.

The march passes underneath the Chinatown Gate. The Chinatown Gate marks the entrance to the heart of Chicago's Chinatown.

Pedestrians learn about the persecution.

Falun Gong practitioners do the exercises together on Chinatown Square in Chicago.

“I Support Falun Gong”

Ms. Wang recorded the march with her mobile phone. She gave Falun Gong practitioners a thumbs up, saying, “I admire them. They pursue Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I don't practice, but I support them. I know some Falun Gong practitioners. Some are still in prison [in China, due to their belief].”

“Those Falun Gong practitioners I know are very nice people. I support Falun Gong. I agree with the banners carried in this march – 100%!”

Chinese people take video recordings of the Falun Gong march.

Mr. Zhang said that he had never seen so many Falun Gong practitioners together. “The persecution is wrong. They [Falun Gong practitioners] don't harm others and don't do illegal things. Why persecute them?”

Mr. Li commented, “I grew up in mainland China. I sense a conflict: My education in mainland China vs. what I see here. The Falun Gong practitioners I see today are very different than what I imagined based on what I learned in China. Truly different.”

A man who had just come from China quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations. He said, “I have wanted to see a Falun Gong march since I heard that they existed overseas. I heard good things about them!” Another woman also quit the CCP and was very thankful for the opportunity.

“Falun Gong Has a Calling in America”

Marc Belanger, Associate Professor of Political Science at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Marc Belanger, Associate Professor of Political Science at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana, had brought several students to dine in Chinatown. He talked about Falun Gong to his students as they saw the march pass by.

Professor Belanger explained that the march was a peaceful protest of the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The march interested him because he saw that Falun Gong also had a calling in America.

“Falun Gong in America Will Influence China”

College student Ethan Gogel said that he had learned about the harm of communism and how it would affect Americans. “It's so nice to see so many people doing a great thing together! They are against communism.”

“I think a lot of changes will happen. They [Falun Gong] are leading the changes. They are leading the change in America; it will spread to China. The changes will address the roots [of the problem].”

Ethan Gogel from Minneapolis.

Chinese Students in the March

Several Chinese students were part of the march. Lin has studied in America for five years. He held a sign reading “Stop persecuting Falun Gong; immediately release Zhou Piwen.” Zhou Piwen is Lin's mother. She has been detained at the Korla City Detention Center in Xinjiang Province without due process since September.

Lin calls for his mother's release during the march on July 21 in Chicago Chinatown.

Wang, a doctoral student, drove eight hours from Nebraska to take part in the march. “Cultivation is higher science,” he said. “I have learned the truth that I cannot obtain in academic studies, especially the cause and effect of being a good person. Cultivation and meditation have helped elevate my wisdom for my research and studies. Inspiration oftentimes appears after I meditate.”

Wang drove eight hours from Nebraska to take part in the march.

Christopher Stoltez from London, United Kingdom described the march as “peaceful” and “unique.” He has also seen Falun Gong practitioners' events in London.